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Theatre lover Rosalinda had ‘a zest for life and living’

Woman born above her father’s Italian restaurant in Goswell Road ‘loved children, animals and people’

30 March, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

Rosalinda Zazzera with a waiter at St Pancras International Station, a favourite spot for afternoon tea

ROSALINDA Zazzera, a theatre enthusiast who was caught up in the German occupation of Italy during the war, has died aged 83.

Rosalinda and her four siblings, sisters Gina, Ida, Alga and brother John, were all born above their father’s Italian restaurant in Goswell Road.

The family moved to Italy, to the home town of Rosalinda’s parents, when she was four. When World War II arrived, Rosalinda and sister Alga were caught in the German occupation and remained there until 1946.

Her brother John, who lived in England with the rest of the family during the war, said: “When they got back I couldn’t speak Italian and she couldn’t speak English. I made the effort to learn Italian and she was very bright. It didn’t take long for her to learn English.”

He added: “She loved children. She loved animals. She just loved people. She got on with everyday happenings with human beings.”

For 30 years Rosalinda lived on the Pleydell estate, in Finsbury, where she was active on the management committee.

It was here she met her friend and neighbour, Nigel Gansell, who enjoyed trips to the theatre with Rosalinda. Nigel said: “She insisted that the London stage was the best in the world. She would say: ‘Broadway can’t get near us.’

“But she didn’t like modern theatre or anything with too much swearing. She thought the English language was to be treasured.

“She was one of the most generous women I ever met in my life. She was full of little treats. She would insist on paying for drinks at the theatre. She would always say: ‘It’s on me.’”

Rosalinda worked as a secretary for most of her life – at one point at an advertising firm and at another for her brother-in-law’s restaurant, Pinocchio, in the West End. Away from work, she loved to travel and had been to Syria and Lebanon.

She met Doris Day through a friend on a trip to California. They had a shared interest in animals, Doris Day having a cattery in California and looking after animals.

Rosalinda’s travels led to a scary encounter when she was on board an Italian cruise liner which caught fire in November 1994, sinking two days later in the Indian Ocean.

Her friend Nigel said: “She had a zest for life and living. She had a warm ability to talk to strangers. Even the 243 and 55 bus routes got a ‘How are you?’ welcome.”

Rosalinda died on February 24. The funeral took place on March 20 at St Joseph’s Church, in Finsbury.


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